THERE were four children playing together in the door-yard of a pretty cottage on Elm Street. The sun was shining brightly, the air soft and sweet, laden with the fragrant breath of the beautiful hyacinths from "mamma's flower-bed" under the sitting room window enough of beauty, one would think, to cause the children to laugh for joy. But it did not have that effect just now; even the warbling bird in the elm tree overhead was unnoticed by the four pairs of angry eyes just below.

Sweetly the bluebird sang, but Sadie, aged ten, the oldest of the four, did not listen to his song. She was talking to Freddie (aged eight), and this is what she said: "You're a mean, good-for-nothin' boy to tear the ribbon off my hat, an' I just hate you, I do." 

Freddie made up a horrid face at Sadie. He did not dare slap her, because she was large and strong; but he could vent his anger on little Mamie, two years younger, so he pulled her doll away and threw it on the ground. She screamed, and ran to get it, but baby Frank reached it first, and grabbed it by its long flaxen hair. 

Mamie gave him an angry push, and he fell upon the gravel walk face downward, smearing his face with dirt, as well as scratching his little nose until it bled. Just as he picked himself up and ran with outstretched hands to strike Mamie, crying, "You mean dood-fo'-nossin' dirl! "Cousin Fanny, who had been a witness of the whole scene, opened the gate and came toward the children.

"Where's your mamma, Sadie?" she asked,

"Cleaning house; and, O Fanny! You don't know how nice it looks as far as they have gone!"

"Where have they cleaned?" 

"Oh! The parlor is finished. The carpet has been up and the wall tinted, and it's all settled again, and it is so sweet and clean in there." 

"What makes it sweet?" 

"Mamma has a jar filled with something fragrant that Cousin Lou sent her."

"Ah! Tint's it, is it?" said Fanny, sitting down, and taking Frank upon her lap to wipe the little soiled, tearful face. "Why don't you clean house?"

"Me? Why, Cousin Fanny, what a question to ask! I'm not big enough to clean house."

"I think you are plenty big enough. 

What have you been doing today?"

"Taking care of Freddie, Mamie, and Frankie."

"What do you call taking care of them?"

"Why takin' care of them, of course." Cousin Fanny handed a package to Mamie, and told her to take Freddie and Frankie over on the porch steps, and divide the contents between them, saving some for Sadie. After they had gone, she put her arm about Sadie and said gently: "It does not seem to me to be taking care of Freddie to call him 'a mean, good-for-nothing boy;' and, Sadie, I wish you would begin cleaning house right away."

"Mamma doesn't want me to. She's about to clean my room, and I'm to have a white dresser, tied with blue ribbons, and a white bedspread, tufted with blue. She's going to let me help regulate, but not clean."

"Ah! But Sadie, I want you to clean and regulate both. Don't you know the hymn 'Whiter than Snow'?" 

"O Cousin Fanny! Now I know what you mean: you want me to be a better girl is that it?"

"Yes, dear; I want you to ask Jesus to help you brush all the sin out of that little heart, and then come in and take possession; will you dear?" 

Evening had come. Mamma's cleaning for the day was finished. She joined her little ones in the sitting room. Sadie had her arm around Frankie, and Freddie and Mamie were sitting at her feet while she told them a wonderful story.

"Sadie is the best sister in the world, mamma," Fred said, looking up joyfully.

"I love her a hundred bushels," Mamie added; and Frank put in, "An’ I 'ove her a hunny boosy, too."

"Have you had a hard day, dear?" asked Sadie's mother. Sadie whispered her answer: "It was hard this morning, mamma, but I cleaned house, too, mamma. Do you understand?"

"Yep, dear, I think I do. You 'swept and garnished,' too," and she kissed Sadie's cheek.

"Yes, mamma, and I mean to try to keep so 'whiter than snow' you know."

"Try alone, Sadie?"

"No, ma'am; I've asked Jesus to help me clean house, and he did, and he'll help me keep it clean." 

S. S. Times.